ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It was a proud moment Friday for graduates of the 107th Albuquerque Police Department Academy class.
After speeches from Chief Ray Schultz and Mayor Richard J. Berry, the cadets got their badges and were sworn in as new APD officers.
But this is an unusual class because of its size. The previous five APD classes had an average of 30 cadets graduate. This is a group of 11, 10 men and one woman.
It's not just a fluke. The current class going through the academy has just 10 cadets.
That means with retirements, there will be fewer than 1,000 sworn APD officers come next year.
"What we're seeing right now is kind of a shortage of good-quality candidates," Schultz said. "It's not only being experienced by our department but by other police departments as well."
The definition of a good-quality candidate has changed. To change the department's culture, APD is now only accepting into officer training those with a minimum of 80 college credits. There's also been a change in the type of person APD is looking for.
"This is the first class where we've been using a new outside psychologist for testing," Schultz said. "One of the requirements out of the PERF report was to hire officers who have a better ability to deal with people one on one."
Because of the smaller crop of cops, Schultz tolf KRQE News 13 his department is looking at holding smaller classes more frequently. In his eyes, the advantage of a smaller class is more one-on-one attention for the cadets.
This is the first class under a new civilian academy director. Schultz says the training is geared towards more nonforce situations, helping those in crisis and giving officers a foundation in constitutional law.
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